Category: Research

Professor James McCann BU Today Special Report, “Battling Ebola: Is Human Acitivity to Blame?”

August 19th, 2014

Human ecology may hold key to longer-term solution says CAS professor.

For historical context on the virus and the role that deforestation and human activity may have played in the current outbreak, BU Today spoke with James C. McCann, a scholar on the history of the food, ecology, and agriculture of Africa. He is a faculty fellow for the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, associate director of the African Studies Center, chair of archaeology, and a professor of history. He is also a Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow. His numerous books include Green Land, Brown Land, Black Land: An Environmental History of Africa, 1800–1900; Stirring the Pot: The Tastes and Textures of African Cookery; and Maize and Grace: Africa’s Encounter with a New World Crop, 1500–2000, which won the 2006 George Perkins Marsh Prize as the best book on environmental history from the American Society for Environmental History.

 

Click here to read the entire article.

Natalie Susmann (GRS’20) Boston Herald article of her AR593 essay

May 19th, 2014

Natalie Susmann turned one of her essays from CAS AR 593, Memory in 3-D: Memorials, then and now course into an op-ed for the Boston Herald.  Click here to read the article.

Jade Luiz (GRS’17) Writing Program News Letter Interview: Teaching Steampunk

May 6th, 2014

Jade Luiz interview on the BU Writing Program’s on-line newsletter about the course she is offering, Teaching Steampunk.

Here is the Writing Programs website were you can read Jades interview (scroll to the bottom, on right hand side)  http://buwritingprogram.wordpress.com/

Daniel Fallu (GRS’16) recipient of a GRAF and AIA Pomerance Fellowship

February 6th, 2014

Dan Fallu, Boston University Department of Archaeology graduate student has been awarded the long term GRAF.  The GRAF is specifically for his field work and residency in Greece. The bulk of the funding will be put towards coring the banks of the Chavos River (part of the natural fortification of Mycenae) in order to develop a history of sediment dynamics. The main goal of this coring is to determine if a dam (yet to be discovered architecturally) created a reservoir that resulted in the eventual burial of the site.
The AIA Pomerance Fellowship will pay for dating (carbon and osl) and isotope analysis to understand the effect of climate perturbuation on the stratigraphy at Mycenae.

Congratulations Dan!

Professor John Marston’s SAA article: Navigating the Interdisciplinary Academic Job Market in Archaeology

January 27th, 2014

The SAA Archaeological Record

January 2014 – Volume 14 – Number 1

Marston SAA Record Article 2014

NEW EPISODE 3: “Ask An Archaeologist !”

December 2nd, 2013

Published on Oct 28, 2013

In this episode, Boston University’s Department of Archaeology’s Professor, Curtis Runnels, answers questions gathered from social media and man-on-the-street questions.

Ask an Archaeologist: Episode 3, Professor Curtis Runnels

To submit questions:
Email questions to ASORmedia@gmail.com with the subject “Ask An Archaeologist”.
Use #AskAnArchaeologist on Twitter or Facebook.
Tweet us directly @AmerSchOrietRes
Comment on our facebook page.

Friends of ASOR presents “Ask an Archaeologist,” a YouTube series dedicated to finding out what you and your students want to know about archaeology. Viewer submitted questions will be answered by professional archaeologists with years of experience.

“Ask An Archaeologist” provides reliable, entertaining, and educational information about archaeology in video form. It is also an opportunity to connect students with professional archaeologists.

We are currently, and always, accepting questions. This could be used as a group or individual activity challenging students to create interesting questions, answered by real archaeologists, and viewed by thousands of people around the world.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE INTERVIEWS:

Ask an Archaeologist Promo – September 18, 2013 with Allison Ripley, AR Graduate Student

Ask an Archaeologist Episode 1 – September 18, 2013 with Professor Andrea Berlin

Ask an Archaeologist Episode 2 – October 8, 2013 with Dr. Travis Parno

Paulo Medina (GRS’17) & Mario Giron-Abrego (GRS’18) awarded the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program

November 18th, 2013

The Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program 2013 from The California State University Chancellor’s Office, is a mini-grant program is designed to support active CDIP Scholars and their CSU Faculty Advisors as they implement the Collaborative Plan of Support submitted with their applications. This exciting program provides money for travel to conferences/workshops, professional journals, small research projects.

Congratulations to Paulo and Mario!

Prof. Chris Roosevelt part of a $1M NSF awarded to Dept. of Electrical & Computing Engineering

October 25th, 2013

Professor Chris Roosevelt to validate the techniques used by Professors Venkatesh Saligrama (ECE, SE) and David Castañón (ECE, SE), and Assistant Professor Mac Schwager (ME, SE), nearly $1M for their project, “CPS: Synergy: Data Driven Intelligent Controlled Sensing for Cyber Physical Systems.” read more.

Stephanie Simms (GRS’13) Bostonia article on Ancient Maya Cooking Tips

September 12th, 2013

Archaeologist Stephanie Simms was digging at the Escalera al Cielo site in a hilly region of rural Yucatán, Mexico, when she discovered a trove of clay balls the size of plums. There were hundreds of them, buried at the edge of what functioned as a Maya kitchen 1,000 years ago. Read more here

Dr. Francisco Estrada-Belli discovers a Maya pyramid, Holmul Archaeological Project/PACUNAM, Guatemala

August 6th, 2013

PRESS RELEASE

Francisco Estrada-Belli

(Holmul Archaeological Project/PACUNAM)

Maya temples and tombs give new insights into Maya history

Estrada-Belli with newly found Holmul frieze (AD 600)GUATEMALA CITY— A Maya pyramid beautifully decorated with a rare polychrome- painted stucco frieze was unearthed in July 2013 at the site of Holmul, a Classic Maya city in northeastern Peten region of Guatemala.  The find came as archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli’s team excavated in a tunnel left open by looters.  The stucco relief stands along the exterior of a multi-roomed rectangular building, measuring 8m in length and 2m in height. Much of the building still remains encased under the rubble of a later 20m-high structure. The carving is painted in red, with details in blue, green and yellow.

“This is a unique find. It is a beautiful work of art and it tells us so much about the function and meaning of the building, which was what we were looking for,” says Estrada-Belli. The carving depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers.  The team had hoped to find clues to the function of this building, since the unearthing of an undisturbed tomb last year.  The burial contained an individual accompanied by 28 ceramic vessels and a wooden funerary mask.

An inscription below the figures tells us that this edifice was commissioned by the ruler of Naranjo, a powerful kingdom to the south of Holmul. In the dedication, king “Ajwosaj Chan K’inich” claims to have restored the local ruling line and patron deities. The images and glyphic text on the frieze also provide information about political actors in the Maya Lowlands well beyond this small kingdom.   “One of the glyphs describes Ajwosaj as ‘vassal of the Kanul king,’ suggesting a much wider network of influences was being felt at Holmul. When this building was erected, Kanul kings were already on their way to controlling much of the lowlands, except Tikal of course,” added Estrada-Belli.

The text places the building in the decade of the 590s, according to Alex Tokovinine, a Harvard University Maya epigrapher associated with the project. who has deciphered the text. “Ajwosaj was one of the greatest rulers of Naranjo. The new inscription provides the first glimpse of the remarkable extent of Ajwosaj’s political and religious authority. It also reveals how a new order was literally imprinted on a broader landscape of local gods and ancestors,” says Tokovinine.

During the Early Classic period (A.D. 300-550) the Tikal kings had established new dynasties and far-reaching alliances with kingdoms throughout the Maya Lowlands, perhaps thanks to a connection with Mesoamerica’s greatest state, Teotihuacan.  Tikal suffered a defeat in the year 562 by the Kanul “Snake” kingdom, which, for the following 180 years, would come to dominate most other Lowland kingdoms.  An inscription at Naranjo indicates that Kanul king K’altuun Hix had overseen the accession of Ajwosaj, as early as the year 545.

The relief depicts three human figures wearing elaborate bird headdresses and jade jewels seated cross-legged over the head of a mountain spirit known as a witz (“mountain”). A cartouche on the headdress contains glyphs identifying each individual by name. The central figure’s name is the only readable one: Och Chan Yopaat, meaning “The Storm God enters the sky.” Two feathered serpents emerge from the mountain spirit below the main character and form an arch with their bodies. Under each of them is a seated figure of an aged god holding a sign that reads “First tamale.” In front of the serpents’ mouths are the two additional human figures, also seated on mountain spirit heads.

A band of about 30 incised glyphs adorns the bottom of the frieze. The legible parts mention the actions of Naranjo king Ajwosaj, who put the king’s house in order,” put Och Chan Yopaat (the central figure in the frieze) in order, and put several local patron gods in order.

The tomb associated with the building was found in a cavity dug into the stairway leading up to the building.  The skeleton of an adult male and his ceramic offering were preserved by large limestone slabs that kept the tomb free of debris.  His incisor and canine teeth has been drilled and filled with jade beads.  The decayed remains of a wooden mask, perhaps originally worn as a pectoral, were found on his chest.  With it were two miniature flower-shaped ear spools.

-2The number of vessels in the tomb as well as their iconography bore clear references to the nine lords of the underworld as well as to the aged sun god of the underworld.  There were two sets of nine polychrome-painted bowls decorated with the water lily motif, each made by a different artist.  There were also nine red-painted plates and one spouted tripod plate decorated with the image of the god of the underworld emerging from a shell.  Because of the unusually high number of vessels and the jade dental decorations, Estrada-Belli believes this individual may have been a member of the ruling class at Holmul; he had planned this year’s excavation to search for more clues about the man and the period in which he had lived.

The team hopes to return to the area in 2014 to continue exploring and to preserve this building. This year’s investigation was endorsed by Guatemala’s Ministry of Culture with funding from Guatemala’s PACUNAM foundation and the U.S.-based Alphawood Foundation with additional support from Boston University, National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program, and private donors.

Francisco Estrada-Belli

Francisco Estrada-Belli is an Italian-Guatemalan archaeologist affiliated with Boston University and the American Museum of Natural History, who is currently teaching at Tulane University. He received a Ph.D. degree from Boston University in 1998.  Since 2000 he has directed the Holmul Archaeological Project, a multi-disciplinary investigation of early Maya culture in Guatemala.  He is author of numerous scholarly articles on the Maya including the recent book “The First Maya Civilization. Ritual and Power before the Classic period.”  He is a National Geographic explorer, having received 13 research grants from the National Geographic Society, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He is co-founder of the Maya Archaeology Initiative, a nonprofit for heritage preservation and education in the Maya Biosphere of Guatemala.

Contacts:
Francisco Estrada-Belli

Email: franciscoeb@gmail.com; tel. in Guatemala through Aug. 7: 11-502-44789968 or after Aug. 7 in U.S.: 1-617-230-6633

Alexandre Tokovinine
Email: tokovin@fas.harvard.edu; tel: 1-857-253-1111

CAS News

BU Today article

National Geographic http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/pictures/130807-maya-frieze-discovered-holmul-guatemala-archaeology/#/new-maya-frieze-found-archaeologist_70150_600x450.jpg